Life, life, life

Helllooooo.

Oh my, I finally have the time (& energy) to write.  I’ve missed this, I’ve missed you-o’ wonderful blog-you.  Life has been busy! So hmmm, I don’t quite know where to start…

But we’ll try here and see where this takes me.

I’ve been back to work for a little over 2 months now.  I can’t say I’m ecstatic about it, but I’m not miserable either.  If only there were more hours in the day (or I worked less hours hehe) to spend time with my girl AND be in the office.  I miss the days we went to the library and to the park, the mornings we could slowly roll out of bed, and the afternoons walking alongside our Fraser River pathway.  However, I am enjoying drinking my coffee as slowly as I want (once I get to my desk), chatting with people who are actually able to engage in conversation, and gaining back some of the independence I had lost.  I am still trying to get into the groove of being a working mom, but it is getting easier. (Well maybe not easier– I might just getting better, as they say.)

However, this brings me to my thought of the day; a feeling of being ‘underwhelmed’ in certain areas of my life, I guess you could say?  I was on such a high this past year.  Yes, it was hard… VERY hard.. but I was doing it, and I was doing it well.  I felt I was making a difference, and my god I WAS making a difference!  I overcame obstacles every.single.day.  I saw results.  She was growing and learning and developing right before my eyes- and a lot of that was because of me.  I felt needed.  I gave value.  I had purpose.

Now, I understand that the role of a mother never changes.  She needs me in different ways now then she did when she was a newborn. It’s just after all the trials and tribulations during that first year of parenthood, I feel that I have so much more to give, to do, to contribute.  I never knew how strong I really was.  It’s about understanding my value and where I can make a difference- not as a mother, but as a strong, intelligent, spirited woman.  Enough has never been good enough for me. I don’t want to coast through life.  I want to be motivated and challenged; to grow into something better then I was yesterday.  Yes, I am a mother but I am also a woman.  A woman with a career, with dreams, with ambitions; and right now, my “motherhood-fulfillment-meter” is skyrocketing, but my “successful-badass-woman-meter” needs a little work.

Okay, that’s enough from me tonight.  Too tired to edit this post, just needed to jot this down. dammit. Can’t we (I) just BE happy? LOL.

Goodnight xoxo.

 

 

World Breastfeeding Week

As many of you know (from those who have read my previous posts) breastfeeding is very special to me … And in honour of World Breastfeeding Week:

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We’ve made it to 12 months and although it hasn’t always been easy, it’s been worth it (for me).  I struggled tremendously in the first couple months so to still be nursing presently is something I am endlessly grateful for.  I often get asked how much longer I’ll continue, and the truth is I don’t know.

But what I DO know is that I will forever be an advocate for the normalization of breastfeeding.  Sometimes it can be inconvenient or uncomfortable (mostly for others)… But we do it anyway; with the utmost love, and  without giving a damn what anyone thinks because let’s be real, there’s nothing more essential, and rewarding than feeding our children… especially when you work so hard to do so).

And more importantly, I will always support every woman no matter how they feed their babies- Boob, bottle, breast milk or formula- because I get it… I get the pressure, the opinions, and I get the tears, frustration, and the feeling of complete failure when nursing doesn’t work out as planned.  Because the truth is not everyone that wants to breastfeed can, and not everyone that can wants to… Either way, it’s a difficult road that doesn’t need judgement, and although it is National Breastfeeding Week, whether you are breastfeeding or not I have so much respect for all you mamas out there.

 

Linnaea’s Luau

We decided to throw a Luau themed party for Linnaea’s first birthday for a couple of reasons: One- seeing as I wanted to make most of the decor myself, I figured because there were so many Hawaiian-style options in terms of decorations it would be easy enough to come up with ideas, two- I wanted it to be super colourful, and three- I really want to go to Hawaii… so why not bring Hawaii to us!

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Banner read: Linnaea Is One (with palm trees)

 

In case you haven’t noticed, I can be a bit of a stress case and preparing for this party was no exception.  I was up until 1am making treats the night before, when it was finally time to sleep I tossed and turned for what seemed like an eternity (thinking of everything that could go wrong, of course), and before I knew it it was time to rise and shine before the girl woke up so I could get myself ready and finish her smash cake.  The day of, I decided to give myself two hours of ‘set up time’ which seemed like more than enough time but as always, I was scrambling, barking, and sweating till (and past) the very moment guests arrived.

But you know what, sometimes I just need to re-effing-lax a bit because in the end it always seems to work out.  I was super happy with how it all came together- people were laughing, the food was delicious, and most importantly my girl was surrounded by so.much.love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my BFF and SIL for helping me set up, to those who made sure cutlery was restocked/candy jars were refilled/& everything kept flowing, our cousin who made the most perfect cake and cupcakes, to everyone who helped clean up afterwards, and to all of you who came and spoiled our girl.  THANK YOU. 

Now in case you ever decide to through a Luau themed party, here are some ideas… I thought they were pretty cute (lol).

 

xoxo.

a little #tbt

I’m currently in the midst of planning my girl’s 1st birthday party and things have been hectic, and messy, around our house lately.  I’ve been trying to do as much DIY decor as humanly possible which means all of my ‘free time’ while baby sleeps has been dedicated towards cutting and gluing, resulting in my writing (and reflecting) to be put on the back burner… for now.

However, last night as I was putting the final touches on some things I’ve been working on, it hit me: MY GIRL IS TURNING ONE!  Hubby and I were just talking about how quick this last year has flown by, yet how long it feels since we’ve become parents; we can’t imagine life without her.

In the grand scheme of life the passing of one year may seem insignificant, but let me tell you, this past year has been the most remarkable, momentous, joyous time of my life. There may come a time when Linnaea wonders whether her existence has impacted the world in any way and I want her to know she undoubtedly has.  She has touched me and the people around her in more beautiful ways than she’ll understand (until she’s blessed to have babies of her own, of course); she’s brought laughter, love and light into all of our lives and as much as I try, it would be impossible to express all that I feel into words.

(And to think, last year on this day, my water broke- and we’d soon come to understand all that entails with being a parent.)

The three of us, we’re growing together.  Every moment hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.  We’ve cried, and not because we are angry or sad but because there are times we wish we could do more, give more, be more for her and our little family.  And what’s crazy is that right now it’s easy- we can bring her inside when it’s raining or turn off the TV when the images are too difficult to watch; we can turn on the lights when it’s dark or wrap her up in a blanket when she’s cold.  But if we’ve done our job right, one day she won’t need us anymore in the same ways she does now, and as heartbreaking as that sounds (to me), that’s the goal.

So, Happy almost 1 year baby girl.  From a quote I once read, we’ll ‘introduce you to the beauty that lies within your soul.  Instill it into you, before [anyone or anything] defines it for you, and your precious eyes will always see your worth.’  (Awakened Vibrations).

Below are some raw, and very real photos from our first couple of days. Thanks Cher for capturing these moments <3.

 

Fam jams

My apologies as it’s been a while since I’ve written anything lately… my little family has been busy!  Over the past couple months we’ve taken a few trips to visit family living in other parts of BC/Canada and so what better than to write a post about the fam jams we’ve been part of.

My family has always been close.  Before my Nana passed away we would have dinners every Sunday at her home; no matter how you were feeling or what you were doing that day- you came to dinner.  And I’m not just talking about my immediate family, but my aunts, uncles and cousins too.  I loved it.  Her home was our home and so we always felt comfortable and relaxed; we caught everyone up on our busy lives and teased each other whenever we had the chance… not to mention she was a wonderful cook!

Now that she has passed, we unfortunately do not see each other as often as I’d like but the times we do, it feels as though nothing has changed.

It’s extremely important to me for Linnaea to be close with her family.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone on both mine and Joel’s side.  I won’t get into it now, but our family tree is a wild one and I mean that in the best way possible- we have branches on branches on branches- and Naea will have an interesting time explaining  who’s who as she gets older (hehe).  Our girl has 3 sets of grandparents on each side… 6 in total! What a lucky girl!  Her world is bursting with love and that couldn’t make me happier.

We has such a good time in both Calgary, AB and Scotch Creek, BC – there really is nothing better than spending quality time with the ones you love.

 

Aint that the truth

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With social media giving us easy access into other people’s lives it’s normal to get caught up in what we think is the truth.  (funny this post comes after ‘Mamarazzi’).  It’s no secret we carefully select and filter how we want our lives portrayed.  Let’s be real, is that not the exact point of instagram? And I admit, I’m guilty.  I try to post the best pics- posting only the ones where I catch my girl smiling or making some adorable face; sometimes I even make my family pose for candid shots and I almost always filter the crap out of my selfies to hide my eye bags, with not one but TWO apps- yet sometimes I still find myself comparing aspects of my life to what others choose to share about there’s, Moms particularly.  Crazy, huh?

With this being said, I need to get something off my chest.  Well, mostly because I almost had a nervous breakdown, writing helps calm my nerves and hopefully this speaks to one other mom today to show them they are not alone.

Last night I had less that 4 hours of sleep.  My girl STILL wakes up every 2-3 hours and after I put her to bed for the 3rd time (around 3am) I couldn’t fall back asleep.

The nap I look forward to the most is her first one which she usually takes around 8am.  I can eat breakfast, drink my coffee, rest for a bit and get ready for our day.  I need that nap.

But today, SHE JUST WOULDN’T GO TO SLEEP. I took her into her room around our normal 8am time, she was rubbing her eyes and yawning… showing all the sleepy signs but WOULDN’T GO TO SLEEP.

With my lack of sleep last night I already felt defeated before the following process began.

I let her cry, I brought her back out to play, I rubbed her head, patted her back, laid in our bed with her, sung to her, rocked her (standing and sitting).. for 3 hours. THREE HOURS. She’d cry when I put her down, she’d cry what I picked her up- she didn’t know what she wanted and I seriously almost lost my shit.

(please let me continue because I’m on a roll right now)

Not to mention, I’m 28 years old and have eye bags and wrinkles around my eyes like I’m over 60 (sorry 60+ year olds…) probably from not sleeping longer than 4 hours at a time for the last year.  My boobs are destroyed from breastfeeding on only one side and I have chipped shellac nail polish on almost every finger because I don’t have time to get them removed.  Our laundry pile is as tall as me and I have nothing but eggs, mio and baby food in our fridge because I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping (we were supposed to go this morning after her nap). I also forgot to get diapers.  Which means, I have no diapers.

Some days are harder than others.  Some days aren’t hard at all.

But today I’m a hot freakin’ mess.

 

Mamarazzi?

I’ve often wondered if  I take (and post) too many pictures.  Is that such a thing… too many photos?  You can find me with my iphone in hands reach, ready to snap some pictures at any given time.  I have thousands of pictures already… it’s quite amazing actually.  Folders filled on my computer, private albums on facebook (makes for easy uploading), public albums on facebook, instagram (both personal and for my girl), VSCO, wordpress- you name it, I got it.

Now, I’ve heard it all before:

“Put down your phone/camera.”

“Stop looking at life through a lens.”

“ENJOY THE MOMENT.”

and this has me thinking, why do I do it?

The answer is simple.  I want to remember.  It. All.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy the moments (except for when she wants to play at 2am but that’s a whole ‘nother post), we live in the moment, we go on adventures, play dates… it’s just… she’s now 10 months old. TEN MONTHS.  It feels like it’s only been a couple months since she came into our lives, and at the same time I can hardly remember how she was as just a little newborn.  It’s a weird feeling.  I can’t believe how fast time has flown by and this scares me.

I want to remember the small moments just as much as the big- her first time touching grass or sitting on a slide, the face she makes when she feels the breeze against her body or the sun on her face, the determination in her eyes when she pulls out her favorite toy from her toy box , how proud she is when she picks up a cheerio on her own or how excited she gets when daddy comes home from work.

I want to remember how we felt on the day we went to the splash park for the first time or the first night she slept in her crib; how nervous we were to dunk her underwater and how excited we were when she could finally sit in the bath on her own.

I want to remember her face, her hair, her smell at 3, 6, 10, all the months; the size of her feet and the outfits she fit in to.

There are so many firsts, so many changes, so many experiences that I find it impossible to remember them all without looking back at photos.  Pictures make me feel- they bring me back to a day, a minute, a moment in time I so desperately want to hold on to but would otherwise forget.

Obsessed? A little overboard?  Kind of annoying? Probably… BUT I have yet to regret a time I took too many photos. 😉

As time goes by the photos will likely slow down.  My girl’s first year is a whirlwind and for me, the photos are needed, cherished, and absolutely adored.

For all you non-photo takers or posters I’m sorry if it’s a little excessive.  I. JUST. CAN’T. HELP. IT. My heart is overflowing with pride and love and it’s impossible to contain all my mama feels to myself.

(ps. I’m ecstatic I found a community that loves posting pictures of their babes as much as I do.  Snap, post, share to your hearts content my fellow mamarazzis!)

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I’d also love to hear your thoughts on picture taking.  Is there such thing as too many photos? Talk to me mamas (& dads too, if this is your thing).

Shop Local/Small Business Community

I never knew how big, how supportive, how FANTASTIC the shop local/small business community is here in Vancouver.  I’ve recently started looking into this community, mostly through instagram, and I was overwhelmed with the amount of love and encouragement shown (and felt) between different shops, brands and supporters.

What I also noticed was 99% of these shops are run by families.  Moms and Dads who work (what I expect to be) countless hours designing, marketing, promoting, selling, … and everything else one would need to do in order to keep their business thriving-to support their own little families.  That mom (and dad) hustle is real. 

And that’s exactly it.  When you shop small & local you’re supporting families and communities directly.  How awesome is that? Plus the designs and material quality are outstanding.

Now, on the real- shopping from small and local businesses can be little more expensive and quite frankly this mama (aka: me) is not exactly rolling in the dough either which means… we try to help where we can. 🙂 A little goes a long way, right? We may not be able to purchase everything from our local shops (my heart says YES but my credit card says no) however, when we do I will cherish these pieces forever <3.

Check out this adorable shirt from Whistle and Flute Clothing.

 

Spread the love!

Tropical Vacation Mommy Must-haves

I had quite a few people ask me about some of the baby items I brought with us to Punta Cana (not to mention lots of compliments while we were there ;)) so thought I’d share & review some of the products that helped us survive, and thoroughly enjoy, our 1 week tropical vacation.

  1. Genji Sports Pop Up Family Beach Tent. This has got to be my best purchase by far.  I was not sure of the shade/umbrella/cabana situation at our resort and so I purchased this beach tent from Amazon a couple weeks before we left.  Thank goodness I did! The tent pops up in 2 seconds, no assembly required, which was incredibly helpful especially when carrying your baby, baby bag, towels, beach bag.. and everything else you need when taking a baby & yourself to a pool/beach.  The best part is that it fit into our standard size luggage which means it is perfect for travel; the tent did take up quite a bit of room in our suitcase, but was well worth it.  Without the tent I don’t think we could have spent as long as we did at the pool or beach.  Another bonus: 50+ UPF protection.  One recommendation: practice taking down & folding the tent before you go- this part is a bit tricky until you get the hang of it.  Youtube videos will make it easier to understand.

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2.  Swimways Baby Spring Float Activity Centre with Canopy.  This floaty was great also.  However, I think we liked it a little more than my girl did.  It allowed us to be in the pool handsfree (great for letting Mom and Dad relax in the water and still be in arms reach of our baby), but of course Naea enjoyed being held more.  She’d usually stay in the floaty for about 20 mins at a time and that worked for us.  Also , with the added UV protection canopy I felt comfortable having her in the water for as long as we did.  Word of advice: no need for the ‘activity centre’.  We didn’t even use the toy octopus it came with as it’s a little too big and bulky; she enjoyed just splashing the water much more.

3.  Badger’s Baby Sunscreen.  This sunscreen worked great! I really wanted an all natural sunscreen for my girl and after a bit of research I decided to go with Badger’s Baby Sunscreen SPF30.  It’s a bit thick, which is fine by me because who cares if a baby has visible white sunscreen on their face?  It smelled great, protected her sensitive skin and did not cause any irritation.

4.  Calikids Sun Hat.  I looked everywhere for a sun hat that had a large, sturdy brim (the others just flopped over and covered her eyes) and I’m so happy I found this one.  It was the only one that fit her ‘smaller’ head, but it is absolutely perfect as there’s a drawstring in the back that allows the hat to expand as she grows.  Plus UV protection of 50+ makes Mama love it even more.  Seriously, how adorable is this?!

5.  Cosco Umbrella Stroller .  Another $20 bucks well spent.  This light weight stroller was perfect for the airport and walking around the resort (we now use it on our day-to-day activities also).  We LOVE it.  Only downside, no where to hold your bags… but what more can you expect from a $20 umbrella stroller.  It worked out great.

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If you have any questions, please ask 🙂 And as always, all opinions are my own.

Happy travelling!